She was a tall kind-hearted lady with a carefully coifed salt and pepper page boy. Her name was Mrs. Olson, and she was my first Sunday School teacher. I was also just five years old — so, I’m thinking that memory may be a bit (or a whole lot) skewed. She provided me one definitely unskewed memory I’ve cherished over the years.
You see, when I was five years old my family moved away from our small rural community, my grandparents who lived next door, neighbors who loved me as their own, two very special friends my age, and the church we had attended since I was a tiny infant. What I didn’t know then was this would be the first of many many moves my family would make during my growing up years. Mrs. Olson promised to send me my very own Bible. This was something she did for every child she felt privileged to teach about Jesus and whose family moved away.
Mom and I waited expectantly everyday for the mailman hoping for its arrival. Six long weeks (especially for a five year old) later, it finally came. We eagerly but carefully unwrapped the precious contents revealing a shiny black leather cover with the gold letters “Holy Bible” and the pages edged in red. By today’s standards it was really plain. In the 1950’s it was the standard. And, of course, it was a KJV. There weren’t any other options then.
Through all those many moves and a turbulent childhood, that little Bible was a treasured and unchanging companion: Bible stories, memory verses, the textbook to accompany many a Sunday School lesson, and learning to love Jesus more and more. Years later with a cover I specially created just for the day and adorned by a large white orchid and ribbons, it became a part of my wedding bouquet. I wish Mrs. Olson could have known what that gift meant. While I’ve chosen some other versions and prettier editions over the years, I still have her gift.
Whether it was a gift or she had obtained it on her own, Aremi’ had her very own Bible. We visited Aremi’ and her daughter Marcella’s home in San Salvador, El Salvador in September. Marcella is enrolled in a Compassion project there. In the Compassion project Marcella learns that even though her family lives in poverty, she has a real hope for her future as she receives healthy meals, medical care, tutoring, encouragement to do well in school, and participates in vocational training programs. She is also encouraged and helped to grow in her relationship with Jesus. Moms and dads are encouraged through the partnering church and ministered to as well. Aremi’ is one of those moms. She was so delighted to invite us into her humble home. Compassion helped her to secure a sewing machine, which allows her the opportunity for work that provides for her and her 3 daughters. After sharing our meal, she showed us her very own Bible. It was obviously cherished and protected in its own Bible cover. Special scriptures were clearly marked including one she had chosen for us to read together: Psalm 81:10.
“I am The LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
What a hope filled Scripture. What a treasure for each child and family to have their very own Bible. Compassion’s Christmas Gift Catalog includes an option for gifting a Bible(s) to a child(ren) just like Mrs. Olson had done for me. Each Bible is just a $10 gift — such a small amount to bring God’s Word to a child helping them grow in their faith and relationship with God our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus – The Light of the World – whose birth we celebrate!
To sponsor a child visit Compassion’s website.